This week, I sat down with cover32 Bengals writer Antarres Letcher to see just what’s going on with those Bengals now that they’ve had another first round playoff exit.
Quinton Clapper: Who was the one person this year that had the most positive impact on your team’s final season record?
Antarres Letcher: Head Coach Marvin Lewis. It is clear that Coach Lewis has control of the locker room. The Bengals’ identity comes directly from, that of Marvin Lewis. Lewis came to Cincinnati as a defensive minded coach, and that has not changed. The Bengals’ defense is ranked fifth, and has been the key to almost every win this season. That is a direct result of Coach Lewis instilling that tough, physical attitude in his team. Vontaze Burfict has developed into a Ray Lewis type of linebacker. Something that undoubtedly came straight from Marvin Lewis, who coached Ray for many years as defensive coordinator for the Ravens.
QC: Who is the most overrated player on your team and why?
AL: James Harrison. When Harrison became a Bengal, many fans believed he would be a huge difference maker. We all thought He would bring that gritty mentality to Cincinnati as a veteran leader on defense. That has not been the case. His game has been pedestrian this season. He has not stood out at any point, and there has been no sign that Harrison can still do the things he did for Pittsburgh.
QC: What is your overall feeling on the job done by your team’s entire coaching staff?
AL: This coaching staff has done a great job with getting the most out of their players. Every week someone new steps up and has a huge game. They have coached this team well. There has been some questions about the coaching offensively, but those questions will be addressed this postseason.
QC: Which side of the ball do you think made the most progress as a unit in 2013?
AL: Defense without a doubt has made the most progress. The Bengals have become more deep on that side of the ball. No matter who is out, the next guy comes in and doesn’t miss a beat. This unit has carried this team all year, and has a chance to carry Cincinnati to the Super Bowl.